Samaná Peninsula

Land of pirates, settlers and Maroons. Located in the northeast of the Dominican Republic, it is an ecotourism destination. Its breathtaking mountain scenery, beautiful coconut groves, picturesque villages of colorful houses, stunning waterfalls and pristine beaches are all part of this paradise where there are still virgin corners capable of surprising all five of our senses.

place where time seems to have stood still, where its wild-looking beaches remind us of the famous Daniel Defoe novel Robinson Crusoe. As in all tourist areas of the island, it has a high number of foreign residents, mostly French and Italian, followed by Swiss, Canadian and German. Samanà Peninsula is comprised of three municipalities: the capital, SamanáLas Terrenas and Sanchez.

 

TIPS
  • For those traveling to this part of the island, we recommend carrying cash, because there aren’t many ATMs, and credit card payments are not widely accepted. 
  • If you plan to explore the Samaná Peninsula on your own, we suggest you rent a 4 x 4 to get around. The most secluded beaches, in fact, are only possible to access on foot.
  • Bring some candy to give to children who will approach to welcome you when you walk through Samaná. Their smiles of thanks will be a reward that will fill you with joy.

 

Samaná 

Its complete name is Santa Bárbara de Samaná, a town in the southern part of the Samaná Peninsula facing the Bay of Samaná, where every year humpback whales come to mate and reproduce in the warm waters. The journey from El Catey International Airport (AZS) is about 45 minutes by car. It has a charming harbor, bright-colored houses, and terraces and restaurants, which offer tasty dishes such as fresh fish and seafood combined with coconut... a delight for any palate! 

The picturesque villages of El Limón, Las Galeras and Arroyo Barril are the districts that make up the municipality of Samaná city.

Las Terrenas

This is a small town located to the northwest of the Samaná Peninsula, about 45 minutes from Samaná city and two hours from Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo (SDQ). As in other resort areas on the island, Las Terrenas is a cosmopolitan town, and where citizens of different European nationalities have chosen this charming and peaceful village as their residence. As a result, it has a wide variety of bars, restaurants and international businesses from which to choose.

Its superb white-sand beaches and clear waters are what motivate thousands of tourists to come to the Samaná Peninsula throughout the year. To drive to Las Terrenas we recommend renting a 4 x 4 because of the difficulty of some of its roads. Spectacular views can be seen along the scenic mountain road from Sanchez to Las Terrenas, such as the Bay of Samaná, Los Haitises National Park and the Atlantic coast, which will take your breath away.

Las Galeras

Located on the northeast coast of the Samaná Peninsula, 28 km from Samaná city in Rincón Bay, is a small fishing village that is ideal for a relaxing holiday. Here, you can experience the real Dominican life, enjoy the splendor of the landscape, visit untouched and pristine beaches and the nearby Playa Rincón, which is considered one of the best in the world.

 

Things to Do in Samaná Peninsula

  • Its pristine beaches, as for the rest of the Dominican Republic, is the main reason visitors come to Samaná. From Las Terrenas to Las Galeras and up to Samaná, you can go sailingsnorkeling or diving. Click here to find the best beaches to visit during your vacation in Samaná Peninsula.
  • The most famous attraction on the Samaná Peninsula is the observation of humpback whales; Megáptero novaeangliae – which migrate to Samaná Bay during the months of January to March. Samaná Bay is the only place in the Caribbean where you can watch them.
  • If you visit the waterfall El Salto El Limon at Las Terrenas, you can go hikingride a mule or go canyoneering.
  • Las Galeras is also a destination for adventure: rock climbingmounting bikingsurfing and diving are some examples of activities you can do.
  • Diving: Cabo Cabron and Cabo Samaná are two ideal locations on the northeast of the Samaná Peninsula to practice diving for both beginners and veterans, because there are several points where you can dive and discover wonderful underwater scenery. For experienced divers, you should not miss the opportunity to explore the famous "Tower" of coral, which starts at 7 m beneath the surface and goes down to 55 m. It is common to see Carey turtles, lobsters and crabs.

 

How to get Samaná Peninsula 

Whether by road, sea or air, it is easily possible to reach the main tourist spots located in the Samaná Peninsula:

Charter flights. A limited number of international flights reach the International Airport El Catey (AZS). If your flight arrives at Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, Santiago or Punta Cana, there are regional flights that will take you to the International Airport El Catey, located about 30 minutes from Samaná city, or to the existing national airports on the Samaná Peninsula: Arroyo Barril (DAB), the closest to Samaná city, is about 10 minutes away, and El Portillo (EPS), closest to Las Terrenas.

Private flights. Several private companies fly to Samaná Peninsula, landing at El Catey International Airport (AZS) or at its two domestic airports Arroyo Barril (DAB) and El Portillo (EPS). The journey from La Isabela International Airport in Santo Domingo (JBQ) to El Portillo (ideal if you travel to Las Terrenas) is about $80 per person. If you book a trip by plane or helicopter, it is important to know that the airstrip at El Portillo has no lighting, limiting the arrival of the flights to the daytime. The company HELIDOSA has years of experience working on the island.

Bus. For long distances, this is the cheapest way to travel in the Dominican Republic:

 

Bus to Samaná

- From Santo Domingo, in about two hours, you reach your destination: take the bus company Caribe Tours on 27 February Avenue (cost 320RDS). For reservations and schedules visit Caribe Tours website.

- From Punta Cana or Bavaro, the tour is as follows: with the company Sitrabapu to Higuey 120RDS, to Hato Mayor, 110RDS and to Sabana de la Mar, 75RDS. From there, catch a boat to Samaná City. Sitrabapu Tel. +1 809 554 4260

Bus to Las TerrenasFrom Santo Domingo, take the bus company Caribe Tours on 27 February Avenue to the town of Sanchez (cost 320 RDS) on the Samaná Peninsula, and from there take one of several buses that you will find at the bus stop offering its services to Las Terrenas. The trip is through the mountains and offers spectacular scenery, and it is advisable to do it by day for the panorama, and because of the condition of the road.

Bus to Las GalerasBuses (mini buses) run frequently between Samaná and Las Galeras. Trips take about 45 minutes. Once you are in Las Galeras, you can reach everything on foot or motoconcho (private motorbike drivers).
 
 
Rent a car. Rent a 4x4 can be very useful for traveling on the island, due to the road conditions.
- From Puerto Plata on the north coast, the trip takes about two hours. The road is a bit tortuous to Nagua, but the panorama is well worth it.
 
- From Santo Domingo city, the trip is around two hours if you take the Juan Pablo Duarte II highway. On route there are three tolls for a total of about 400RDS for cars and 4x4-type vehicles. The highway passes through the mountain formations of the Southwest National Park Los Haitises.
 
- From Punta Cana in the southeast, it’s a five hour trip. The best route is Higuey–La Romana. Take the route of this highway and go through Hato Mayor to Sabana de la Mar.
 
Taxi or Minivan. From anywhere on the island, you can hire a taxi or mini-van with a previously agreed fare with the driver, which may include the return trip. Here are sample rates from the main points of the island for 1-4 persons: 

- Santo Domingo Las Americas Airport-Samaná City: 3 hours, $200

- Santo Domingo Las Americas Airport-Las Terrenas: 3 hours, $190 

- Punta Cana-Samaná City: 5 hours, $350 

- El Catey International Airport-Las Terrenas: $50 

Boat. Arrive by road to Sabana de la Mar and from there take a boat to Samanà. Make sure that you agree to the price before the boat leaves the dock!

 

Where to Go from Here

The Samaná Peninsula offers a wide variety of excursions and activities within less than two hours by car:

Las Terrenas, Las Galeras, Cayo Levantado, Salto El Limón, Salto Lulú, Los Haitises Natural Park.

Salto El Limon

Located in the heart of the Samaná Peninsula, is a 50 m high waterfall surrounded by magnificent lush tropical vegetation. Have you ever dreamed of being under a spectacular waterfall and taking a swim in its waters? Well, your dream can become reality! To make the trip to this splendid waterfall, there are several options:

1. Walk. You should basically be in good shape.
2. On Horseback. This is recommended especially in the rainy season or when the road is muddy. Do not worry if it's the first time you’re riding a horse, the horses are gentle and you will always be accompanied by a guide who will walk beside you.
3. Canyoning. The more daring can go down the walls surrounding the Limón river.
 
The tour takes about approximately three hours.
 
There are four access roads, but the most-used route is called the coffee path. Upon reaching the top of the mountain, you can see the coast of the Peninsula of Samaná and Cayo Limón.
 

TipsWear hiking boots for this, because the road is steep with rocks, mud and water. Do not forget your swimsuit for when you get to jump in. And remember to tip the guides for their great work. Here we recommend a guide with years of experience for making trips to the Salto del Limón: http://www.cascadalimonsamana.com

Did you know that... In 1819 the painter Theodore Chassériau was born in the village of El Limón, in what was then a French colony.

 

Salto Lulu. Located on the north side of the Samaná Peninsula, the Cascade Lulu is more accessible than the Salto El Limón – great for children and people with some difficulty walking. The road to the waterfall Lulu is the same as it takes to go to Playa El Valle. After crossing a small river, to get to Playa El Valle you have to turn to the left (to get to Lulu you should turn to the right) and you are there in one minute. It is important to go in a 4x4 vehicle. The road to the waterfall offers spectacular scenery, lush scenery, and is full of cocoa and coffee trees. Upon your return, you can buy some products at a "typical house" that are produced locally and, by doing so, help the local people.